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Breaking barriers

Carolina Women in Business group.

Carolina Women in Business.

Breaking barriers. We couldn’t think of a better theme for Carolina Women in Business as we enter UNC Kenan-Flagler’s centennial year. When we came together to pick our theme we knew it had to be a catalyst for change but also celebrate our rich history.

We have interwoven “Breaking Barriers” throughout all of our events this year. We started off by ambitiously launching our first-ever guest speaker series. We welcomed Christine Cuoco, global head of business marketing for Twitter in a fireside chat. She shared her post-MBA journey and her passion was contagious as she shared her professional challenges and successes. Advice like being flexible and adventurous when looking to take that next career step helped us frame our own future careers.

Our second speaker series featured Dana Halberg (MBA ‘80), vice chairman of BNY Mellon Atlanta. She spoke about not competing against anyone except herself and how that has fueled her long career in finance.

The two speakers shared over 50 years of career insights, such as how they overcame obstacles and celebrated their successes. They embodied women who have broken barriers and we were honored to host them.

Carolina Women in Business is looking to break barriers in new ways. We are particularly excited about our campaign for male allies. We firmly believe that substantial change to increase female representation at UNC Kenan-Flagler and beyond requires that everyone has a seat at the table. Gender parity and equity is not just women’s business, but rather everyone’s business. Our peers at schools like USC Marshall reached gender parity (50 percent) this past year, we believe it’s important to follow their lead. Men are imperative to this initiative and must be a part of this conversation.

Our new initiatives are a way to highlight our “Breaking Barriers” theme and celebrating our traditions is important, too. Our annual conference will celebrate UNC Kenan-Flagler’s past by bringing back some of our strongest female alumni such as Mary Shelton Rose (BSA ’87, MAC ’88), east regional chairman for PwC, and Vanessa Wittman (BSBA ’89), director and former CFO of Oath, as well as Dropbox, Motorola and Marsh & McLennan.

The day will be filled with workshops, panelists, networking and much more. Some of our scheduled events include workshops led by author Mary Abbajay, who wrote “Managing Up,” and Maital Guttman, chief diversity officer for McKinsey. We will showcase both UNC Kenan-Flagler faculty and business professionals to highlight the intersection of business and academics. You will also find we are engaging men who will moderate panels and help with event logistics. We have an ambitious goal to increase the number of men and women attendees. Check out our schedule to see the incredible lineup this year.

Finally, we realize that one of the most important aspects to increase female representation at UNC Kenan-Flagler and beyond requires creating a collaborative and inclusive community for women. Carolina Women in Business is doing this in several, fun and unique ways.

Networking sessions, happy hours, tailgates, Carolina Casuals, golf lessons and camping trips are a few ways we are helping to build our community. We also challenge the old way of doing things. Every board meeting is held at one of our favorite Chapel Hill locations where kids and pups are welcome. Part of breaking barriers involves creating a more flexible work environment and we need to live what we preach!
Want to help us break barriers or have questions? Contact

By Charlotte Burnett (MBA ’19), president of Carolina Women in Business